RICHMOND, Indiana (WCMH) – An incredible string of chance encounters and lucky breaks was what two women said helped them bring a days-long Amber Alert to an end.

The search for five-month-old twins Ky’air and Kason Thomas started Dec. 19 when the children’s mother’s running car was stolen from the Short North. Hours later, Ky’air was found in a parking lot at Dayton International Airport, but there was no sign of Kason.

On Dec. 22, police announced the arrest of the suspect in the case, Nalah Jackson, but still no word on if Kason had been found, until just a few hours later, when the boy was discovered inside the stolen vehicle outside of a Papa John’s pizza restaurant in Indianapolis.

The two women involved, Shyann Belmar and Mecka Curry, told NBC4 they played a pivotal role in leading the police to Jackson, and the eventual return of Kason.

“I wanted to be for sure,” Belmar said. “In my heart, I knew I was for sure.”

Belmar said she initially came in contact with Jackson on Dec. 20, when she said she bought some toys from Jackson in an Indianapolis parking lot. Belmar said she then gave Jackson a ride to a gas station. The two women then exchanged phone numbers and went their separate ways.

Nalah Tamiko Jackson’s latest mugshot after being arrested in Indianapolis. (Courtesy Photo/Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

The next day, Belmar said she saw Jackson’s picture on Facebook.

“I wouldn’t move off of it because of the topic that it had with the mugshot,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Kidnapping,’ and I’m like, ‘This girl looks familiar’ … I wouldn’t move from off the picture until I could figure out where I knew her from, and I’m like, ‘I hope I don’t know her,’ but something told me, this looks like the girl that was in my car.”

Belmar said she hesitated to call the police because she wanted to be sure she had it right. She called and talked to Jackson during the afternoon of Dec. 22. Belmar then called Curry, her cousin, and the two came up with a plan to get Jackson into police custody.

The cousins said they drove Jackson to several stores, with hopes that she would steal something so they could call the police. When that didn’t work, they drove around with Jackson in the car while one of the women called 911, pretending to be talking to a friend while giving dispatchers information on their location.

“I’m like, ‘Babe, I’m on 65 South,’” Curry said. “They’re like, ‘Where are you at?’ ’65 South, babe,’ so at this point, they come behind us.”

Officers were able to locate the car and arrest Jackson.

Belmar and Curry then went for food, and as if they hadn’t done enough, came across a Honda Accord – the same car Jackson had allegedly stolen in Columbus nearly four full days before. In the back seat was Kason.

“I opened up the front door, I look inside, I see the baby and I smell his foul smell,” Curry said. “Instantly, I thought the baby had passed away. So, I’m screaming like, ‘It’s not good, it’s not good!’”

The women flagged down nearby police officers, who then took Kason out of the car. As of Monday, both boys are reunited with their family and doing well following the ordeal.

A local organization created to honor Makenzi Ridley, a Columbus teen killed in 2021 just weeks after her high school graduation, celebrated the two women with a special lunch.

On behalf of the Columbus community, Orange Hearts for Makenzi leaders gave the women gift cards and gifts for their children.